What is Testicular Cancer?
What is Testicular Cancer? Testicular cancer is a cancer that occurs when cells begin to grow abnormally in the testes. Testicular cancer is a fairly rare type of cancer, but it is most common in men aged 15-49.
The testes are oval male sex organs in the scrotum or the genital pouch. Testes are an important part of the male reproductive system because these organs produce testosterone and sperm. Both products of this testis have a vital role in the development and sexual function of a man.
The following are the types of testicular cancer grouped by cancer cell types:
- Testicular cancer of germ cells (Germ Cell). The most common type of testicular cancer, about 95 percent of all cases. Germplasm is the type of cell the body uses to form sperm. This type of testicular cancer is subdivided into two types, namely seminoma (slow growth and spread) and nonseminoma (rapid growth and spread).
- Lymphoma. The type of cancer that occurs is about 4 percent of all testicular cases.
- Leydig cell tumor. The type of cancer that occurs is about 1-3 percent of all testicular cancer cases.
- Sertoli cell tumor. The type of cancer that occurs is about 1 percent of all testicular cancer cases.
What are the Symptoms of Testicular Cancer?
The following are the symptoms associated with testicular cancer, namely:
- A lump or swelling in one of the testicles. This is the most common symptom of testicular cancer. Lumps and swelling can be with or without pain.
- Sharp pain or achiness in the testes and scrotum. These feelings can come and go.
- Your scrotum will feel heavy.
- You will feel tired and body feel unhealthy.
- The accumulation of fluid in the scrotum.
Although most lumps and swelling in the testes are not necessarily considered a sign of cancer, but this condition should be wary of. Immediately consult a doctor to determine whether the lump is cancerous or not.
The lump in the testes in most cases is caused by blood vessel swelling or varicocele. But if a lump or swelling is really caused by cancer, early treatment can increase the likelihood of recovery.
The spread of cancer to other parts of the body known as metastasis, can also occur in testicular cancer. If this condition occurs, then other symptoms will also appear.
Usually, testicular cancer will spread to the lymph nodes (glands that produce the immune system) around it, then can spread to the abdomen or stomach and lungs. But this cancer can also spread to liver, bone, and brain organ, although rarely occurs. Symptoms of cancer that has metastasized include:
- A long-lasting cough
- Bleeding cough
- Male swelling or enlargement
- Lower back pain
- Lump or swelling of the neck
- Hard to breathe
Causes of Testicular Cancer
Most cases of testicular cancer do not have a clear and definite cause. Testicular cancer occurs when cells in the testis grow abnormally so that the cells grow uncontrollably. Furthermore, it will continue to grow beyond control, although the body does not need new cells.
Although not yet clearly known cause of testicular cancer, here are some factors that can increase a person’s risk of developing testicular cancer.
- The testis does not go down (cryptorchidism). The testes are formed in the abdomen and usually fall into the scrotum after the baby boy is born or in the first year of life. In the case of anomalies, the testes do not fall. The medical term for this condition is the undescended testicle or cryptorchidism. Handling that can be done is an operating procedure. If surgery is done before the child is 13 years old, then the possibility for him to experience testicular cancer will increase to two-fold. However, if surgery is done after the age of 13 years, the risk increases five times compared to the normal population.
- Never have testicular cancer. For men who have had testicular cancer is advised to do further examination after treatment.They are 12 times more risky to experience it again on the other side of the testis.
- Family health history. If there are family members, such as the father and siblings who have testicular cancer, then your chances of experiencing this condition will also increase.
- Age. Testicular cancer is more likely to occur at the age of 15-49 years with most cases occurring in men aged 30-34 years. Even so, it still does not close the possibility to appear at any age.
- Race. Testicular cancer is more likely to occur in white men than blacks.
- Smoke. People who smoke actively for long periods are twice as likely to suffer from testicular cancer.
- HIV and AIDS. Patients with conditions that attack the human immune system is also susceptible to testicular cancer.
- Height. Based on research in 2008, a man’s height affects the chances of a person experiencing testicular cancer. The higher a man, the greater his chances of developing testicular cancer and vice versa. Based on these studies, the link between height and risk of cancer can be motivated by the factors of food consumed. High-bodied children may be more high-calorie foods during growth, there is the possibility of side effects from these foods will increase the risk of testicular cancer.
- Abnormal testicular growth. Conditions such as Klinefelter’s syndrome can cause the testes can not develop normally and increase your risk of developing testicular cancer.
Steps That Are Done To Diagnose Testicular Cancer
Although not all lumps that appear on the testes are cancerous, it helps you check the odds experienced because the treatment of testicular cancer will be more effective if done from the beginning of the diagnosis. The following diagnostic steps will be performed by the doctor.
- Physical examination. The doctor will inquire about your symptoms and medical history and examine testicular conditions directly in this procedure.
- Ultrasound scrotal. This procedure uses high frequency sound waves to produce an anatomical picture of your testicles. This step is not painful and is the main way to determine whether a lump is malignant or benign cancer.
- Blood test. This test can be done to confirm the diagnosis of testicular cancer because there are certain hormones in your blood that act as ‘markers’. If you have testicular cancer, you will produce this tumor marker and can be detected by a blood test. These markers include AFP (alpha fetoprotein), HCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin) and LDH (lactate dehydrogenate). Although your test results are normal, that does not mean you do not have testicular cancer. Because not all testicular cancers produce this hormone.
- Biopsy. This procedure is used to confirm testicular cancer by taking samples of cells from tumors for laboratory testing. In some cases, a safe way to biopsy is to lift the entire testicle that contracts cancer because the risk of spreading is very high. Appointment of the testis (known as orchidectomy) will only be done if the lump is confirmed to be cancerous.
- Other tests. Other tests may be needed to check for the spread of cancer that has already occurred. Chest X-ray imaging, MRI, or CT scan will be done to find out.
After the test is completed, the doctor can determine the stage of cancer that you experience. There are two ways in this stage cancer system. First is the TNM system.
- T determines the size of the tumor.
- N determines whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or to its surroundings.
- M determines whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
The second stage testicular cancer system is divided into four stages, namely:
- Stage 1. Cancer is still in the testes only.
- Stage 2. Cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the abdomen and pelvis.
- Stage 3. The cancer spreads to the lymph nodes in the upper chest.
- Stage 4. Cancer has spread to other organs, such as the lungs.
What Treatments Are Necessary in Handling Testicular Cancer
Treatment of testicular cancer depends on the type (seminoma or nonseminoma) and stage or stage of cancer experienced. But in the case of any testicular cancer, the first treatment procedure performed is generally the removal of testicular cancer or known as orchidectomy.
After surgical removal of the testicles, you may be advised to take chemotherapy to prevent the re-emergence of cancer. And sometimes you will also be advised to do radiotherapy if necessary. Further surgery will be needed if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or to other organs.
The following are the treatment steps on testicular cancer:
- Orkidectomy. This is a surgical procedure for removal of the testes as a whole to prevent the spread of cancer. This procedure will not interfere with your sexual life or your ability to have children if only one testicle is affected by cancer. If both testes have to be removed from cancer, then you can save sperm if in the future you still want to have children. But this sperm storage does not exist in Indonesia because it is still considered contrary to the norms and cultural values in the country.
- Testosterone Replacement Therapy. The removal of both testicles also affects the cessation of testosterone production. As a result, your sexual arousal or libido becomes low and you can not maintain or achieve an erection. To overcome this you will be given testosterone replacement therapy in the form of synthetic testosterone hormone. Side effects of testosterone hormone therapy are oily skin and can cause acne, swelling of the chest (breast), or disruption urination pattern.
- Operation of lymph nodes. Advanced testicular cancer usually spreads to surrounding lymph nodes, which may require surgery.
- Radiotherapy. This procedure is used to destroy cancer cells by using high-energy radiation rays. This technique is also used to treat testicular seminoma cancer to prevent cancer from reappearing. Side effects of this treatment include nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, reddened skin, and pain as a result of sunburn).
- Chemotherapy. This procedure uses anticancer drugs to kill cells that are malignant in the body so as not to thrive. This procedure also helps prevent cancer from coming back. Keep in mind that this technique can also attack healthy and normal cells of the human body, so the side effects of chemotherapy itself can vary. The most common side effects are hair loss, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue, shortness of breath, susceptible to infection, or numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. These side effects are usually temporary. For men who are undergoing chemotherapy, it is not advisable to impregnate his wife or partner because chemotherapy drugs can damage sperm and increase the risk of having a child with birth defects. Be sure to wear condoms during intercourse for the first two days after chemotherapy. It aims to avoid the harmful effects of your sperm to the couple.
- Advanced check (control). People who recover from cancer have the risk of the cancer going back again. Usually, the cancer reappears within the first two years after treatment is completed. You can check and test regularly to see if the cancer reappears. The tests and examinations in question are physical examination, blood test, chest X-ray, and CT scan. This is done so that in a state of cancer reappear, it can be diagnosed from the beginning so the chances of success of treatment will also increase.